Study shows drop in cancer for under 40s

National 1 minute, 33 seconds


CANCER in people aged 40 and below has declined in Brunei, according to data collected by the Cancer Registry from 2000 to 2012.

The study, published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention last year, reported that cancer cases in those below 40 – classified as the “young population” – had dropped from 26.6 per cent to 18.8 per cent.

Improvements in the standard of living and changes to the country’s population structure were cited as the main reasons for the drop.

“Despite the decreasing trend observed, it still represents a major concern given that a fifth to a quarter of all cancers cases occurred in an economically important group,” said the study.

The study was authored by professionals from the Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Although the majority of Brunei’s population is considered young, with only 10 per cent of the population above 55 years old, the trend of an ageing population is taking place.

Young females comprised almost 67 per cent of all cancers below 40, in comparison to females from all age groups, who account for 55 per cent.

Gynaecologic cancers, which including those of the cervix, ovary and uterus, were the most common cancer amongst the young, representing 24 per cent.

It was followed by lymphatic cancer, which involves cells of the immune system, at 15.8 per cent.

Skin, soft tissue and musculoskeletal cancers grouped together were ranked third, at 10.5 per cent along with breast cancer.

With the exception of cancers common in children, the average age of diagnosis for most cancers was over 20, making interventions such as educational awareness and selective screening “easier to be implemented and understood by the general public”.

The study, the first published on cancer amongst the young population in Brunei, recommended that educational awareness be improved by targeting the tertiary education levels and the work force through “inclusion into education syllabi or frequent public education”.

The Brunei Times